Inoculation Theory Revisited: Reinterpretations, Extensions, and New Directions

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


Inoculation theory offers a unique perspective on how beliefs can be fortified against persuasive attacks. However, there are aspects of the theory that warrant further exploration and reinterpretation, particularly its analogies with immunology and its integration with other theories. We aim to broaden the theory’s boundary conditions by drawing insightful parallels between the fields of immunology and persuasion. We redefine multiple key concepts within inoculation theory and address a range of existing issues associated with classic inoculation theory, including the need for more precise measurement of inoculation effects, the exploration of supportive-only defense, the distinction between passive and active defense, the phenomenon of delayed resistance, the potential for desensitization, and the role of affect in persuasion. We also delve into the implications of addressing “infected” individuals and bridge inoculation theory with cultivation theory and selective exposure. We propose future research directions that include exploring diverse forms and contexts of attack messages, particularly within the framework of dual-process models, and the formulation of a series of conceptual hypotheses.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jan 2024
Event74th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference 2024 - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 20 Jun 202424 Jun 2024


Conference74th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference 2024
CityGold Coast
Internet address


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